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No More Alternative Facts | Hasan Stephens | TEDxYouth@ClintonSquare


On January 22nd 2017 a new phrase was

spawned alternative facts now if you

google it Wikipedia I tell you that

alternative facts is a phrase that was

used by President Donald Trump’s counsel

Kellyanne Conway and a news interview

where she defended false statements

about the attendance at his inauguration

but I didn’t come here to talk to you

about politics but rather misinformation

and untruths I like to define

alternative facts as falsehoods that

rarely reflect reality or as I like to

put it lies lies and more lies now on

the surface you might say who would who

cares so what right they lied about

attendance but the real problem lies

when we as a society are inundated with

untruths and sometimes society puts out

these alternative facts sometimes

deliberately other times without knowing

but nevertheless they have very real

ramifications and impacts on our lives

and even more what you decide to accept

as truth matters the most so what is

your truth your truth is what you want

it to be you must be the architects of

your future and again what you accept

sometimes can alter everything in your

very existence let me explain what I

mean media often puts out falsehoods

like Trayvon Martin seventeen-year-old

Trayvon Martin was seen as little more

than a troublemaker in a neighborhood

where he didn’t belong and oftentimes

youth of color are mischaracterized in

media like 12 year-old Tamir rice who’s

unfortunately not with us anymore

because apparently he was acting like a

thug while 28 year old Ryan Lochte was

characterized by today anchor Billy Bush

as merely a kid

going abroad and sometimes magazines can

whisper to us and tell us that we are

not beautiful another example of how the

voice or even the silence of people in

power can infer these alternative facts

that are ultimately harmful to us if we

believe them in 2014 New York Fashion

Week

reported that eighty-two point seven

percent of their models were white while

only six percent were black and only two

percent were Latino inundated with

images that rarely look like you can

sometimes whisper you are not enough or

even schools can support alternative

facts to the student who acts out in

class because they just want someone to

hear their pain or maybe they didn’t eat

the night before alternative facts might

suggest that that kid is defiant

disrespectful according to the US

Department of Education Office of Civil

Rights black students represent only 18

percent of the total u.s. population and

yet 43 percent of all students with more

than one out of school suspension or is

it our own music and culture that can

whisper these alternative facts to us in

my work with youth I come across a lot

of young women who literally define

their value by how they look or whether

or not they are bad and bujji a popular

hip-hop song today or young men that I

work with whose masculinity is rooted in

their presence in the streets or in drug

houses also known as Bandos and our

problems really solved with being turned

up or liddy with drugs that further

distance us from the reality that’s

waiting for us I would rather be awake

aware and present in my reality so that

I could impact it and try to change it

to be what I want it to be we must be

vigilant and focus on blocking out the

negative messages

that ultimately can be harmful to us

even parents can sometimes infer

alternative message to their kids when

the best of intentions are there I grew

up in Eden wall projects Bronx New York

rated as one of the worst neighborhoods

in the Bronx and on any given day eating

wall would take me on this journey

through war zones poverty crackheads but

luckily I had two parents that loved me

so much and it’s still the best of

values in me my father a hard-working

prideful man who always tried to instill

a good work ethic in me he once told me

even though you’re poor you don’t have

to look poor when you leave the house

it’s a lesson that stuck with me even

till this day and in pushing this work

ethic he would tell me if you have to

pack bags in a grocery store to survive

you do that now I got his point his

point was to always work hard for what

you want in life and to literally do

anything that you need to do to survive

my mother on the other hand who was also

a hard-working woman and wanted to

impress upon me a good work ethic

couldn’t even fathom the idea of me ever

packing bags in a grocery store

she always pushed me to dream higher to

want more and while he didn’t mean it

sometimes the words that we utter can

alter people’s realities if we accept

them so when I was 12 I walked into a

barber shop and I asked him to set up

shop and brush the hair off of clients

as they got out of the chairs I also

swept floors and on any average day I

might make about $70 at 12 when I was 15

I worked at major record labels we are

Warner Elektra and Atlantic Records and

by 16 I had this crazy idea that if I

just walked into a random dentist’s

office and convinced them why it was

imperative that they needed to hire me

that they just might do it and guess

what they did til this day thank you dr.

Sadler

by 17 I met an orthopedic surgeon and I

had the courage simply to ask if I could

shadow and watch an operation I remember

to this day when the blood splattered

right on my smock and to some they might

have freaked out and thought it was a

crazy traumatic moment to me it was a

moment rooted in heaven because it was

something that I wanted to do by 17 by

18 I was working behind the scenes at

MTV watch how I’ve dispelled the

alternative facts watch how I’ve changed

my future continue to watch me and track

me and see how I will continue to do

that as you must do yourselves the world

is filled with alternative facts that

ultimately will be I promise you harmful

if you accept them as truths so it’s

today

that I asked you to stand firm focus

vigilant and dispel alternative facts

and make your own future no more alternative facts thank you

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